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Tennis tourney at Sundial welcomes renovations

By Staff | Jan 28, 2015

A charity tennis event at a popular island resort is scheduled for Feb. 6.

Sundial’s Tennis Showcase features ATP Tour professional and Naples native Jesse Witten. The round-robin tournament puts together celebrity players with locals, with a doubles match to follow the afternoon start. The tournament hosted by Sundial is sponsored by Lily & Co. Jewelers. The $20 entry fee will include raffles, refreshments, giveaways and an exhibition. Proceeds benefit FISH of Sanibel. The tournament starts at 1 p.m.

The first-ever tournament also introduces Sundial’s remodeled tennis facilities. The six clay courts feature subsurface irrigation, new fencing, wind screens and nets, other upgrades fully modernizing the complex. Changes also re-establish Sundial as a premier tennis destination, the resort’s new director of tennis said. Tennis has been a centerpiece of the resort since the 1970s.

“It’s a perfect venue,” Erica Cossairt said of the retooled tennis complex.

Florida tennis pro Jesse Witten was a Collier County standout and is best known for his run at the 2009 US Open, where he qualified and ran all the way to the third round, taking a set off Novak Djokovic.

Starting with USTA Pro Circuit tournaments in Florida, he has played at a challenger-level event in Panama, events in Chile and Ecuador, and the qualifying tournament at the ATP event in Washington. At the USTA Pro Circuit event in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida, he defeated Americans Chase Buchanan and Mitchell Frank without dropping a set enroute to the title.

Witten has a tennis academy in Naples.

The Sundial tournament is Lily & Co.’s second tennis sponsorship since November. Co-owner Dan Schuyler hosted a charity event in November at the Beachview Tennis Club that featured teaching icon Nick Bolletieri. Proceeds from that event also benefited FISH, a nonprofit assisting islanders. Schuyler befriended Bolletieri at his Bradenton academy.

“Everyone benefitsand has fun,” Schuyler said of celebrity tennis.

Sundial’s new courts herald an overhauled resort, which will include new shops, upgrades and a Bailey’s store. Those openings are planned for February. The new tennis complex also features a full-service pro shop.

Details on the tennis tournament are at 239-395-6025.